Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rebuilding the battle

Using the advice of kaumatua Pita Turei, old military manuals and the free labour of wargamers, Paul Janman has been building a model of an ambush and battle that stopped traffic on the Great South Road one hundred and fifty-four years ago, in the first week of the Waikato War. 

The Battle of Martyn's Farm will be displayed as part of our exhibition Ghost South Road, which opens at Manurewa's Nathan Homestead on Thursday night and runs for six weeks. During the day of activities we're holding on June the 10th the battle will be reenacted using dice, as Waikato War historian Vincent O'Malley looks on. 

Apart from the model battlefield, the Ghost South Road exhibition will include scores of photographs, a short film, and a table filled with maps, artefacts and texts. 

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

never been to a worse opening. badly organised waited for ages for the little action there was to finally get going, food rubbish and wine had seen better days. The exhibition looks amateurish and the hosts got smashed, Need some help in organising a launch guys, did NOT do Gt South Rd proud!!!

9:14 am  
Anonymous Ryan Bodman said...

You were there, anonymous. I thought cowards like you just stayed at home, on their keyboards. You should of said 'hey'.

As for the exhibition, I thought it was wonderful, and here's a blurb I sent out to friends and colleague this morning:

'Morena,

Just emailing to let you know about a great exhibition I went to last night.

It's all about the Great South Road and explores the road's place in history and memory, through photography, film, artifacts and an incredible miniature recreation of the ambush on British troops, by a taua of Ngati Whanaunga and Ngati Paoa, at Martyn's Farm, as British troops advanced towards the Waikato.

Here's a link to the Nathan Homestead events leaflet, with further info at page 4: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/Arts/artscentretheatresgalleries/Documents/nathanhomesteadtermprogramme.pdf

As well as the exhibition, there's an event entitled 'Performing History', from 2-4pm on Sat. 10 June at the Homestead.

It sounds like this will feature lots of interesting activities, like a re-enactment, or 'performance of the 1863 skirmish near the old Martyn's Farm', a talk by Vincent O'Malley and other historians and, apparently, they're going to use the miniature of the Martyn's Farm ambush as the basis for a war game; played out with dice and informed by the historical realities of the skirmish.

It's all very different, but it's the most exciting and creative approach to history that I've encountered for some time. I highly recommend it, and the exhibition and 'Performing History' event are all open to the public, so please feel free to tell your students and colleagues about it.

Ryan.'

Hopefully this drums up some extra visits to what is a fantastic exhibition. Congratulations, korua.

11:06 am  
Anonymous Scott Hamilton said...

Thanks for your kind words Ryan. I don't think anon was even in attendance, as I think I knew everyone who came along. It was a deliberately low-key opening, because we really want folks coming on June 10th, when we have activities planned.

10:58 am  
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11:27 pm  

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